On May 16th of this year, the heavy metal community was dealt a crushing blow with the passing of one of its true living legends, Ronnie James Dio. As the vocalist for Rainbow, Black Sabbath/Heaven And Hell and his own band Dio, he was an integral part of some bonafide classic albums. The man was, and is, considered THE voice of heavy metal by countless fans across the globe. His like will never been seen again. Since his untimely death, an outpouring of emotion and sadness came from artists throughout the genre; tribute concerts were announced, shout-outs from the stage by bands on current tours, blurbs permeating every heavy metal news outlet on the internet. One thing about Jorn‘s newest release, Dio, that sets it apart is that it was nearly finished before Ronnie’s passing. It was a tribute to the man while he was still with us and, to me, that speaks volumes about Jorn‘s sincerity.

Listening to this album, it’s starkly obvious that he loved the music of Ronnie James Dio. His performances are heartfelt and full of passion. I think one reason for that is that he already loved the songs. They are part of his musical DNA. When Jorn first began to make waves in the scene, everyone touted his similarities to David Coverdale. While there is some truth to that, Dio’s influence could be heard in his phrasing and aggression. Listening to his rendition of “Invisible”, the first Dio song on the album, it sounds like he’s waited his whole life to make this album. Dio’s voice and presence will never be duplicated, but Jorn‘s fire cannot be denied. The songs included, which cover Rainbow, Sabbath & Dio (the band), range from the obvious (“Kill The King” and “Stand Up And Shout”) to fan favorites (“Don’t Talk To Strangers”, Straight Through The Heart” and “Sacred Heart”) to less expected inclusions (“Sunset Superman”, “Push” and “Lord Of The Last Day”). There’s not a moment on the record that should not be there. The Black Sabbath medley of “Lonely Is The Word/Letters From Earth”, recently included on Jorn‘s own Unlocking The Past album, is chill inducing. “Shame On The Night” is a personal favorite on this collection as Jorn himself is lost in the song and it just fires me up when I hear it.

The inclusion of “A Song For Ronnie James”, written by Jorn as a musical salute to his idol, is more than fitting. The song is fantastic with it’s slow groove and soulful vocal. Having the lyrics comprised largely of Dio‘s song titles and phrases would come off cheesy any other time, but here its perfect. The best thing about this album is the way Jorn walks the line of staying true to the songs while still injecting his own personality into them. That said, there are no drastic re-workings, no acoustic versions; Jorn is a fan and it shows. He’s not trying to capitalize on his hero’s death. He’s showing his hero how much he loves him and what the music means to him.

Kudos to Jorn for releasing what I predict will be the only Dio tribute worth owning.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shawn Pelata
July 9th, 2010


  1. Commented by: Dioslefthorn
  2. Commented by: krozza

    In a fukking nutshell Shawn!!! Hail!

  3. Commented by: emperorjvl

    Was disappointed in the phoned-in drums in this one…

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